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5 San Diego Hotel Pools that Make a Big Splash

  • San Diego Hotel Pools
  • Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
  • Handlery Hotel
  • San Diego Marriott Del Mar
  • The Pearl
  • Lafayette Hotel
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You’d think with such bodacious beaches, San Diego‘s hotel pools would be lame. But, au contraire, our liquid-loungers exude fun in the sun! Choices are as varied as the city’s lifestyles - big, small, rowdy, quiet - something for everyone. Check out the assortment below.

Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
207 Fifth Avenue San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 702-3000
For 40 years Hard Rock Hotels have been throwing the world's biggest party from Bali to Biloxi, Singapore to San Diego, with hubris no other chain can pull-off. In fact, their self-proclaimed “epic and hottest” hyperbole has come to be expected. Although their 13 properties rank high on the diamond rating, the only rocks this trendsetter is concerned with are legendary rollers who defined music as we know it today. The vibe at San Diego’s Hard Rock, and all others, is unmistakingly hip, with signed guitars hanging on the walls and heavy metal tunes blaring throughout the lobby. HR’s beautiful, young and tattooed clientele are on full display at Float, the rooftop pool and bar. When summer hits, this is party central with wet-and-wild Intervention Sunday, the cities radtastic weekly pool bash. World renown DJs spin vinyl for throngs of gen Y‘ers. See for yourself in the above video. Libations flow and bronze pecs strut pass buxom blonds as Oakenfold, Chuckie or Edward Maya entertain. (Room rates start at $199. Intervention Package starts $249 up to $1,249 per night depending on availability. Includes choice of guestroom and two VIP tickets into pool party. Intervention Sunday tickets $10 to $85 depending on DJ.)

Handlery Hotel
950 Hotel Circle North San Diego, CA 92108 (619) 298-0511
Handlery Hotel has been entertaining poolside since frilly bathing caps and Jensen swimsuits were de rigueur. Originally the Stardust Hotel and Country Club in 1956, father and son owners created one of the first pool bars, with an underwater ballet show visible through a glass wall in the cocktail lounge. It became famous in the late-1960s, when the midnight performance featured topless synchronized swimmers. Thirty years later, the hotel changed its name, paying homage to its founder Harry Handlery. Today, a much less risqué pool party takes place on summer month weekends. Sunday festivities by the cement pond run from 1 to 4 p.m. with live reggae band Safety Orange, and Geezer, a rock group. Beer, wine, well drinks and frozen drinks are $4. Thursday, Friday and Saturday night Dive-In Movies run a mish-mash of oldies - Star Wars and Back to the Future, and newbies - Despicable Me, Kung Fu Panda and Tangled. The Reef Lounge outdoor kitchen opens in mid July. (Room rates start at $109 per night. Admission into Sunday Pool Party and Dive-In Movie is free. Parking is $5, validation with purchase from Reef Lounge.)

San Diego Marriott Del Mar
11966 El Camino Real San Diego, CA 92130 (858) 523-1700
Marriott Del Mar is home to Arterra Bar and Outdoor Lounge, North County's hotbed of summer action. Live bands at “Satur-daze” pool parties have locals and hotel guests dancing around a jumble of sunbathers. Bar bites with a Polynesian flair of Peking Duck Tacos and Spam Musabi’s are best when shared in a cozy cabana. Made to order sashimi-grade sushi from Arterra’s Sushi Master, Andrew Hoh, rivals chefs on the Asian continent. Reggae Fridays under the stars invites guests to unwind after a long week. Jamacian ska and signature cocktails engage an island feel. Catch happy hour beforehand for 6-7-8 dollar deals - $6 microbrews, $7 private label wines and $8 signature mixed drinks. (Room rates start at $159 per night. “Satur-daze“ pool party 12 to 4 p.m. Reggae Fridays 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.)

The Pearl
1410 Rosecrans Street San Diego, CA 92106 (619) 226-6100
Point Loma's retro-meets-modern boutique hotel has just one objective, “chillaxin.” Their oyster-shaped saltwater pool is home base for “Sunday Funday.” Mimosas start at the 10 a.m. brunch and keep flowing till 2 p.m., along with plates of caprese scramble, bagel-wiches and housemade bacon grits. Groove 24/7 DJ mixes and scratches songs to create new sounds. Step up for a game of poolside ping-pong. When champagne cocktails run dry, $5 drinks start. Wednesdays are equally as ramped at Pearls pool with free “Dive-In Theater.” Munch and sip your way through foreign, independent and classic films. First come, first serve. Extend your stay for the evening in one of the 23 mirrored-ceiling guestrooms, complete with rain forest inspired showers and a pet Beta fish. (Room rates start at $129 per night. Sunday Brunch $22.50. Dive-In Theater at 8 p.m.)

Lafayette Hotel
2223 El Cajon Boulevard San Diego, CA 92104 (619) 296-2101
This pool has its own Facebook page. The 600,000-gallon fun-factory sits in the center of the hotel's 2.36-acre urban plot, and is rumored to have been designed by Tarzan himself, Johnny Weissmuller in 1946. Two inches shy of official Olympic standards, the pool is plenty big enough to accommodate swarms of neighborhood and hotel aquabuffs. The pool's popularity isn’t limited to weekends. Beach balls and skinny girl Margaritas are a daily happenin’. Sporadic shindigs host bands, $1 off adult thirst quenchers, and the MIHO Gastrotruck. (Room rates start at $99 per night. Pool hours Monday through Saturday 12 to 6 p.m. Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday pool fee is $5. Weekdays free with the purchase of one drink.)